El Khabib (almost 30 million followers on Instagram) vs Conor McGregor (about to reach 42 million) is in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) what years ago was Cristiano (325) vs Messi (246) for LaLiga in soccer. Now times change. You don’t even have to have the best stars of any sport for brand content to reach viral heights. It is a time of ideas, more than money. That is where Abdu Rozik appears to put on LaLiga gloves and fight so that the Spanish competition does not lose rope in Asian territory. It seems crazy, yeah. But, either we put a smile on life, or we are not going to enjoy football, which has shown us throughout history that the one with the most money does not always win. The ‘children’ Hasbulla Magomedov (19-year-old Russian) and Abdu Rozik (18-year-old Tajik) have long been viral freaks on social media. Both suffer from diseases that make them appear smaller than they really are. That is why it is impressive to see them driving cars or fighting in a ring. They look like children but they are not.
Behind the permanent smile of Abdu (suffering from rickets) a story of overcoming is hidden. Abdu comes from a very poor area of Tajikistan, which is one of the poorest countries in the world (he conquered our hearts, in the toughest months of the pandemic, by sending encouragement to Spain, while their League championship continued to be disputed). He was born and raised in Panjakent, in the small town of Gizhdarwa. There he began to make a living on the streets, singing Persian, Russian and even Bollywood songs until a famous rapper from the country named Baron discovered him and began to care about him. Since then he has become the most important influencer in Central Asia. And when the confrontation with Habsullah of Dagestan began (he suffers from achondroplasia), his fame became worldwide. Now this little “boy” moves between sheikhs, collaborates with world stars, even promoting brands in Dubai and Doha, where money falls from the sky.
“To give a better idea of the magnitude of the growth of MMA among young people, It is curious to see that the current most important player in Central Asia, from Uzbekistan, Eldor Shomurodov, who has just signed for Mourinho’s AS Roma has ‘only’ 300k followers, while MMA and the pits of fighters reach millions. If you walk around the city of Tashkent, you see advertisements of MMA fighters promoting drink brands at bus stops. Even the trendy protein bar now has Khabib’s expensive packaging on it ”, explains Khais Rahmanie, LaLiga delegate in the Asian area.
So curious that in Tajikistan the broadcast of MMA fights was banned, because the authorities feared that the sport could radicalize young people. “For example, Uzbekistan since its independence in 1991 has been under a dictatorship until 2016 when former President Karimov died. Now, for a few years, the country has been trying to open its doors and attract investment from abroad. International chains such as fast food are entering the country, for example, KFC recently opened its first branch in the country and now Burger King plans its first branch in early 2022. At the gymnastics level, and again the emphasis is on fighting sports, the UFC is going to open very soon throughout Central Asia UFC GYM centers, since MMA is so powerful in the region that young people are expected to join a gym of UFC. For any company in the fighting sports sector, this region is a place to enter since this phenomenon here is “the king of sports”, explains Khais. In Spain the favorite sport is soccer, but a king left us. But there is another in Persian lands, Abdu Rozik …